We are all familiar with the term ‘attendance’. Right from our school days, we have been marking attendance daily and the same system has transcended into our workplace. However, when it comes to a company, one can’t simply have a person do a roll-call for the employees!
So, what is Attendance Management System, and more importantly, what is its relevance in 2021? Simply put, an attendance management system is a tool that helps you, as a company to streamline your employees’ attendance.
A well-thought-out cloud-based attendance system will not only help an employee mark his or her attendance easily but also help lessen the burden of HR by integrating seamlessly with other HR-related systems like payroll and leave management.
Although legacy time and attendance management systems used registers, punch cards, etc. traditionally, the rise in technology and biometrics has given rise to modern software integrated with biometric devices to mark employee attendance.
A cloud-based attendance system is particularly relevant in 2021 when the global Covid-19 pandemic has taken a toll on both the employees and the employers they work for. Remote working has become the norm nowadays and having a cloud-based attendance management system goes a long way in helping both HR and employees remain productive.
In fact, it was estimated that there will be a 50% rise in remote employees by 2020. Based on how this prediction has become true, implementing such an attendance system is one of the best investments any company can make for their employee’s welfare, especially in 2021.
Why do you require an attendance management system?
Now that we have discussed what employee attendance management systems are, let us understand why it is better to have it as software instead of the legacy methods:
Bulky physical time and attendance registers
The modern office space is very different from the offices of yore. Gone are the huge filing cabinets, replaced by modern laptops and tablets. Your office space in 2021 needs to be less cluttered and roomier for your employees to work in harmony with their team.
Your attendance management software will help you in keeping the decorum of the office space by avoiding those ugly time and attendance management registers, which will not only save space but also make the desks look aesthetic.
Similarly, it is better not to discuss the nightmare-inducing working hours spent on calculating the time and effort spent on time-tracking and overtime calculation for each employee at the end of every month based on those registers. It has always been cumbersome to manually calculate the working hours for every employee and the kind of attention required for the same usually takes a toll on HRs themselves.
It seems that since the advent of time itself, spreadsheets have been a friend of HR. However, to be honest, this friendship has not been devoid of hardships. HRs resorted to using spreadsheets as there was nothing better at that time. Entering employee attendance data manually into spreadsheets raises multiple issues like data inconsistency, data manipulation, calculation errors, etc.
However, modern HR software makes spreadsheets look like ancient technology. With more than 88% of companies implementing advanced innovations like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in modern employee attendance software, data has become a vital component of these attendance systems and it is being used to even predict employee behavior.
Costly biometric hardware
Since technology started taking over our workspace automation, many companies started using biometric devices for marking employees’ attendance. However, they come with the added cost of installing and maintaining the hardware for these devices. As you can understand, this also meant that most of the SMBs and smaller enterprises did not implement the same due to the added overhead of cost and maintenance of these machines.
A good digital attendance management software can effectively integrate existing technology like CCTVs or even mobile cameras to mark your employees’ attendance. Usage of mobile cameras is especially cost-effective for any company nowadays since it uses a resource that everybody owns and maintains on his own – a smartphone.
Lack of a central system
Another headache for companies related to attendance management is the lack of a comprehensive system that could encompass every branch of the company. Many enterprises employ different kinds of attendance management software for their individual branches.
For example, one of the branches might use Excel sheets to enter attendance data manually while another branch might be using physical registers.
However, issues arise when it comes to collating the data concerning payroll, overtime, etc. It becomes clear how cumbersome it is when we consider the fact that a company having multiple branches will be employing a higher number of employees.
Exhausting remote attendance
Work from home has become the buzzword for 2020 and going forward, both companies and employees will continue the same. It provides employees with the convenience of working from the comfort of their homes in their pajamas while the employers benefit from the cost-savings in maintaining the infrastructure and systems.
In such a scenario, we require robust remote attendance software that can accurately capture attendance remotely. Modern attendance software is capable enough to locate the employee while registering their attendance. This will not only reduce the time thefts but also help HRs calculate payroll based on the clock in and out time.
Core features of Attendance Management Systems
For any software to be categorized as an attendance management system, it requires some features which complement the daily duties of the HR, related to employee attendance. These duties can be either augmented or even automated with a well thought out Attendance Management Software.
So, what are the core features of a good attendance management system? Let us take a closer look at some of these must-have functionalities:
- Attendance management
- Leave management
- Payroll management
- Policy compliance
- Reports generation
The most primitive function of your Attendance Management Systems is… drumrolls please… managing attendance! Hence, you would expect this software to provide a modern twist on the way your employee attendance is punched in.
Most modern attendance management systems have integrated biometrics-based clock in and out practices to make sure that time-tracking is accurately determined. In fact, in 2021, it has become the mainstream form of punching attendance due to the advances in biometrics.
A good Attendance Management Software will also provide options to customize the time-tracking functionality so that the working hours can be calculated even if your employee is at the client location. Accurate time-tracking is possible due to such a system and this will also help you in calculating precise overtime as well as aid in the calculation of payroll and incentives.
Also read – E-Leave Management system – All you need to know
Similar to providing precise time calculation, leave management should be another core feature of your Attendance Management System. Multiple companies would have to follow different kinds of leave policies. Hence, well thought out Attendance Management System should cater to the same by having the ability to differentiate between the different kinds of leaves and distribute them according to the company policies.
An average employee takes up to 3 days of unreported leaves per year. If this is to be lowered, there should be a provision to apply for leaves and get them approved swiftly. This will save the hassle of running after HRs and managers for the simple task of getting leaves approved.
Having the leave management integrated with a cloud-based Attendance Management System will also help to keep track of employee time and leave patterns and it can even be used in predictive analysis of employee behavior.
Payroll management will become smoother once the attendance management system is implemented, as it will eradicate the errors related to accurate time and leave calculations. Once such a system is implemented, it will also help in keeping the process of payroll transparent by providing both the employee and the employer, the option to check the payroll details as and when required.
Having a transparent payroll system will also help the employees become better at their time management as they will be able to keep track of their daily attendance themselves. It will also help HRs in reducing user errors as they will not be required to comb through piles of timesheets and manually calculate individual employee salaries.
Another major benefit of having a good attendance management system is that HRs will no longer be required to make sure that everything is compliant as per the statutory regulations. It will be done by the system automatically as the regulations themselves will be hardcoded in the software itself.
As it is a piece of software, it is also possible to make changes to it as per any new government policies as and when required and simply deploy the same. This kind of seamless adoption of new regulations is impossible using manual systems as there are bound to be human errors whenever such policies get updated.
Generating reports is another area where HRs spend a lot of time immersed in unsightly spreadsheets. HRs need to generate all kinds of reports on different kinds of employee metrics and it becomes tiresome when they also have to analyze it to provide meaningful insights. Generating real-time attendance reports as and when required is often an overlooked feature of such software.
This is another area where your attendance management system helps HR. It will not only help generate reports effortless but also leave the HR with ample time to make meaningful observations like employee time and leave patterns, analyzing productivity, etc.
Desirable extra features of an Attendance Management Software-
Although the aforementioned functionalities are included as core features, other desirable features elevate your attendance management system from being ‘a good software’ to ‘an award-winning system‘. Let us get acquainted with these desirable features:
Recent advances in technology have made it easier for phone manufacturers to include biometrics-based security in their smartphones. A smart attendance management system can leverage the hardware in these devices to mark the attendance of your employees. For example, instead of opting for costly fingerprint hardware, you can ask your employees to download the required app on their smartphones.
The app will be able to use the fingerprint reader as well as use the face recognition function of the camera to recognize an employee and clock in his or her attendance for the day. Moreover, as a smartphone is something that your employee already carries around, remote attendance with advanced biometrics is also possible.
- Remote attendance
An advanced attendance management system will also include more useful features like geotagging and geofencing for your employees who work remotely. This will ensure that they do not take undue advantage of working remotely. Using geotagging, employers can detect the location of the employee while clocking in and out.
Similarly, leveraging geofencing, employers can monitor whether the employee’s time is being calculated while he or she is working within the location boundaries set by the company.
- Cloud integration
Modern Attendance Software is also leveraging the power of cloud computing to help employees access their employment details anywhere. In today’s connected world, when even day-to-day work has shifted online, it is very imperative to have a robust system that can be accessed anywhere.
A cloud-based attendance management system will provide these desired features while also being secure enough to keep the data safe. Having remote access also means that the data integrity will also be maintained while also being scalable as per the growth of the company.
ESS or Employee Self Service portal has become a boon for HR. It helps your employees find all the required details in an easy-to-use interface, which reduces the queries they have for their HR. This helps the HR concentrate on other activities than answering the same doubts repeatedly for different employees. The self-service portal will also help the employee gather relevant information anywhere anytime without disturbing HR.
It is a well-documented fact that HRs spend 71% of their time on issues unrelated to HR. However, having a good HRMS with an ESS dashboard will provide the required answers to the employees as and when required. An attendance management system will also help achieve the same goal since it will provide all the relevant details on attendance, overtime, clock-in, clock-out, payroll, etc. in a comprehensive dashboard view for the employee.
- Mobile app
As mentioned earlier, a mobile app will help employers to keep track of their employee’s whereabouts effectively. Being an app, it will also be able to use the mobile hardware effectively to clock in the employee attendance. Companies can use the facial recognition feature of modern mobile cameras or use fingerprint sensors of smartphones to mark the attendance of their employees.
They can even use the GPS sensors on the phone to locate their employee remotely and even set boundaries so that the employee does not misuse the remote attendance feature.
Moreover, as the employees have access to their smartphones all the time, they can use the self-service app to remotely access their ESS portal, thus reducing the strain on HRs in repeatedly answering the same queries. Similarly, any important announcement can be pushed directly to the app instead of going through heaps of emails. All of these benefits can be achieved by having your employee install a simple mobile app!
As we have seen earlier, notifications can be sent directly to the employee’s phone using the self-service mobile app. This can also be especially useful when an employee has to be notified of something. However, good attendance management software will also have other options to notify the employees.
For example, new employees can be notified of their credentials using their email IDs, which will also ensure their security. Similarly, in the case of remote areas where internet connectivity might be an issue, important notifications can be sent via SMS too.
- Advanced analytics
We have discussed earlier that generating reports is one of the core features of any attendance management system. However, advanced analytics helps HR one step further by being able to predict employee behavior after analyzing their trends. In fact, 85% of HRs know people analytics is a major part of future HR.
HR analytics proves useful, especially when it comes to predicting employee leave analysis and clock-in times. Similar kinds of metrics can also be used in conjunction with hiring software to predict the trends of employees quitting an organization. These kinds of analyses help a lot in lessening the burden of HR as they need not comb through the exhaustive data and analyze the details individually.
- Integration with other HR apps
As we discussed above, a payroll system can benefit from an integrated attendance management system by being able to get data directly from the attendance module for calculating the salary. Similarly, a good attendance management system will be able to integrate other HR apps seamlessly to reduce the burden of HRs.
Integrating with other HR functions will also help in minimizing the chances of data corruption linked with user errors.
HRs will also be able to view real-time employee data like the number of employees present in the office or deployed on-site, while the managers can check the whereabouts of their employees with a comprehensive HR management system.
What are the benefits of having an Attendance Management System?
Until now, we have been discussing the core features of an attendance management system. We have also taken a look at some of the most desirable add-ons which will greatly enhance its functionality. Hence, we are now in a position to discuss some of the major advantages of attendance management software:
Improves efficiency of an organization
The most important benefit of implementing attendance management software is the tangible improvement in the efficiency of the HR department. A recent study concluded that an HR professional with the right tools spends only 95 hours per month on employee-related concerns compared to 111 hours for HRs without those tools.
Although this figure might not look that significant initially, we cannot ignore the fact that this is the difference for just one HR; the cumulative hours saved would be much higher.
Ensures accuracy and consistency
Ensuring data accuracy and consistency is a headache for any HR using spreadsheets. Even if the HR is highly skilled, one simply cannot ignore the fact that human errors might creep in any time. However, having a robust attendance management system will not only help avoid such errors but also removes the hassle of cross-checking data time and again to ensure consistency.
HRs can heave a sigh of relief knowing that their data is safe and secure in the software’s database.
Improves employee productivity
A 2019 survey by G2 Crowd revealed that 80% of HRs found that HR technologies improved employee’s attitudes towards the company. This also motivates them to be more productive which ultimately helps the company reap better rewards in the long run.
This kind of improvement can be achieved only by keeping the employees satisfied and implementing robust attendance management software goes a long way in ensuring the same.
Helps create data-rich reports
Data is the currency of the digital age. Hence, the ability to visualize data and deduce meaningful observations has become a part of HR nowadays. This is why attendance management systems have the functionality to create reports.
However, good attendance management software will also have the option to visualize it in a meaningful manner which will help HR observe and infer meaningful conclusions from it. Modern attendance management systems even use machine learning to analyze and keep track of existing data and provide significant insights.
Time theft has been a major headache for any HR since the origin of the working class. A major advantage of the attendance management system is that it eliminates this menace completely. Modern attendance management systems use biometrics, which is very hard to manipulate.
Similarly, with the advent of geofencing and geotagging, it has become convenient for managers and HRs to monitor their employees effectively. All of these measures help reduce time theft effectively, thus ensuring that the employee remains productive during his or her working hours.
Removes manual errors
Another major trouble for HRs was the manual errors and the risks they posed in creating reports. If the source data itself is corrupted, it leads to loss of data integrity at every step of processing said data.
Hence, HRs were under constant pressure to make sure that the data is coherent. However, with the advent of attendance management systems, HRs can be at peace knowing that the data is safe and secure. This saves a lot of their time too since they need not cross-check the data every time they modify anything.
Enforces policies of the company
Company policies are important for any company as much as any statutory regulation. They are required for the smooth working of any organization. Hence, it is only natural that these policies need to be enforced rigorously.
The best way of enforcing these policies is via attendance management systems since they can be used to inform the employee via the ESS portals as well as make sure that they are following the same by using the mobile app as mentioned above.
In conclusion, we have answered the question, ‘What is Attendance Management System?’. We have also talked about its core features while also understanding its desirable features. Finally, we have understood the various benefits of attendance management software. Hence, this is the perfect time to introduce Pocket HRMS, the award-winning HRMS platform which has all the aforementioned desirable features.
However, it also offers much more as it is not just an attendance management software. It is a cloud-based complete HR management system that also employs artificial intelligence and machine learning to boost HR productivity and help organizations become awesome places to work at.
To learn more about HRMS and recent developments in the HR world, check out recent blogs here!